Eisenhower George and Julia Argyros Health Center in La Quinta.
Most people with the means would jump on a suggestion regarding real estate investment from someone who built impressive wealth in that arena. But Julia Argyros dispels any notion that Harry Rinker immediately swayed her when he encouraged her and husband, George, to fund a health center in La Quinta.
Rinker and his wife, Diane, have donated generously to Eisenhower Health for more than 20 years. One of the buildings on the hospital campus (housing Eisenhower Desert Orthopedic Center) bears their names. So he was on solid footing when he enticed his friends to attend a presentation by Eisenhower Health Foundation president Michael Landes on a project to bring healthcare to residents of the Coachella Valley’s east end.
PHOTOGRAPH BY FIGGE PHOTOGRAPHY
Julia and George Argyros understand the importance of convenient healthcare.
“In the middle of the presentation, I said, ‘This is very interesting,’ because it touched all the things George and I support: education, children, medical issues, and the arts,” Julia Argyros says.
But “interesting” is a light year from check writing. She synopsizes the post-presentation conversation with Rinker, her, and her husband in the car:
Rinker: “What do you think of the project?”
Julia Argyros: “It’s a nice project.”
Rinker: “Would you be interested in funding it?”
Julia Argyros: “How much is it?”
Rinker: “It would only take $20 million to get started.”
Julia Argyros: “$20 million? Oh my gosh, that’s a lot of zeroes.”
Rinker: “You will never be sorry.”
Picking up the narrative, Julia Argyros continues, “I thought for a minute and said, ‘It’s perfect for us. It’s perfect for the community — for people who don’t live in a place where healthcare is convenient.’”
The Argyroses, who have a primary residence in Newport Beach and a second home at The Vintage Club in Indian Wells, previously donated money from their Argyros Family Foundation to Eisenhower and other hospital organizations.
“We decided that we were lucky to have Eisenhower in our environment, and I had more fun with this project [than others],” Julia Argyros declares. “It is my favorite of what we have done.”
She and her husband feel gratified by positive feedback from total strangers. “People hearing our name called at a restaurant would ask, ‘Are you the people responsible for that beautiful building?’ We heard from a lot of people telling us that it added to their lives.
“I wish I lived closer [year-round] so I could use it more,” Argyros continues. “I get such a warm feeling when I pass by and know how much work was put into it and how glad I am that it could be given to the East Valley, because a lot of cities don’t have anything this up to date and modern. My husband and I came from small towns and know how important it is [to have convenient healthcare].”
At 92,000 square feet, the Eisenhower George and Julia Argyros Health Center — dedicated in January of 2010 — represents Eisenhower’s most comprehensive slate of urgent/primary care and specialty services under one roof. In Eisenhower’s last fiscal year (July 2019-June 2020), the center served 106,107 patients.
Rinker was right when he assured his friends that they would not regret funding the Coachella Valley’s largest satellite health center.
“After it opened, we would sit on the little hill [near the building] and watch people go in and come out happy,” Argyros says. “And that makes us happy.”
The interior design of the Eisenhower George and Julia Argyros Health Center expresses elements of water, earth, wind, and sun. The main lobby features a desert rain sculpture suspended above a lush garden oasis. Plants indigenous to the area display vibrant colors, with additional earth elements of boulders, petrified-wood accents, and floors created out of sand and stone. Textures and sinuous curves suggest wind, and an illuminated sun sculpture brings virtual warmth to circular seating in the café.